Verulamium Park is a large park situated on the south west side of the city of St Albans. The park and the lake were created in the 1930s from what was at the time agricultural land. Most of the park lies within the walls of the Roman town of Verulamium and some of the walls can still be seen within the park. The Verulamium museum devoted to everyday life in Roman Britain is found at the North West end of the park at TL137073.
The lake and the adjacent river Ver is the main area attractive to birds within the park although the small area of woodland along the Roman wall and the mature trees elsewhere in the park are also worth a look. The park is often very busy particularly on fine weekends so the best time to visit is early in the day although the birds using the lake are untroubled in general by the large numbers of people walking around the lake.
The car park by the leisure centre at Westminster Lodge (TL144065) is free for up to three hours parking, parking ticket machines are in place for stays of a longer duration. There is also a car park by the Roman museum at the St Michaels end of the park. A large layby is available on the north side of King Harry Lane (TL134066).
By public transport
St Albans is served by a large number of buses from around the area, full details of these can be found at the Intalink Hertfordshire travel information website. The Greenline coach service 724 also stops at St Albans and timetables are available at the Greenline website.
The park is home to a sizeable heronry based mainly on the southernmost island on the lake (the birds have occasionally nested on the other island).
The RSPB operate a viewpoint close to the heronry during the breeding season and details are available about this from their website.
Apart from the Grey Herons quite a wide range of wildfowl (in some cases feral birds) can be seen on the lake including Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mandarin Duck and Ruddy Duck. Both Great-crested Grebe and Little Grebe are present and large numbers of gulls are present during the day outside the breeding season. The majority of these are Black-headed Gulls with a smaller numbers of Common Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls present. It is always worthwhile looking at the gulls carefully as Mediterranean Gulls have been seen there in the past and will almost certainly be seen there again. An unusual visitor there in 2009 was a Black Tern, these are never common in the county and usually seen at larger reservoirs and gravel pits. An Egyptian Goose was also seen around the lake in 2009.
There is a good population of raptors in the area with Red Kite often drifting across the park along with Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel are also seen on a regular basis. Typical parkland birds are also present; these include Green Woodpecker, Little Owl and Mistle Thrush. Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers have been seen around the park in past years and Grey Wagtails are sometimes seen along the edge of the lake or along the banks of the River Ver, the river is also home to Kingfishers.
The Watercress Wildlife association's LNR at the rear of Riverside Road is also very close and is particularly good when the main lake is frozen. It is easily reached by a short walk along the public footpath following the River Ver.